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Prace Stories: Meet Marina!

Posted October 4, 2021

Marina enrolled in Prace English Classes to meet new people and reach her goal of finding employment in Australia. Today she shares her story with us.

I moved to Australia in 2019 from Hebei Province, China where I worked as a Mechanical Engineer. When I first arrived in Australia with a bridging visa, it was hard for me to find a job. Mostly I was just at home. But, I was keen to start my life in Australia, to study, to work, to meet new friends and settle in. 

A year after I arrived in Australia I received my temporary and noticed that I was qualified for the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). I researched courses and institutions where I could improve my English and make new friends and chose to enrol at Prace.

In the past, I had studied English at school because in China we have English courses for every grade from primary school onwards. I hadn’t had much practice at speaking English though and I was not at all confident about having conversations.

In my Prace class, we came from all over the world. There was just one other Chinese person in my class, but that was good as I had to speak English whenever possible, and it was the best way to improve. The only time I didn’t do that was the day I got my first job offer in Australia. It was so exciting that I couldn’t wait to share my happiness with my Chinese friend. So, I phoned her and said, “I am too happy to speak English, let’s do it in Chinese this one time!”

When I started class I was very nervous because most of my classmates had been studying there for quite a while before me and they all knew each other. I wasn’t confident about speaking, so I didn’t really talk much to people, especially people who weren’t in my class.

But I remember that one morning I met Aubrey while he was taking his coffee in the sunshine. He said hello to me with a big warm smile and talked with me about coffee and tea. He was very friendly and patient. From then on we would talk every time we met. After that I thought, “I am able and ready to communicate with more people in English, not just my classmates or my teacher.”

I love Prace because I know all the people there and they are really nice. The classes are enjoyable and everyone is amazing and supportive. It not only helped me to build friendships, but also helped me to improve my English. After practicing and studying in the class at Prace I felt that I could speak more quickly and my husband noticed I was more fluent. 

My favourite part of class was when we would talk about the latest news and share information about issues by reading and watching videos together and then discussing them or writing about them in essays. This really improved my English, and I learned a lot more about Australia – the country and the culture. I miss my teacher, my classmates, and my homework so much. 

I really appreciate Prace, not just the English classes but also the employment program which was really helpful. My goal was to find a job in Australia. I had access to lots of different kinds of information about preparing for starting a career, applying for jobs, creating resumes and so on. Martha, the Employment Pathways Case Worker, was able to help me with goal setting, writing my CV and cover letters, even to prepare and practise for interviews. With Martha’s assistance, I moved towards my goal faster than before and I now have a full time job.

Marina started work in July 2021 as a Purchasing Administrator for medical equipment supplier to the healthcare industry. The position requires her to read technical diagrams and utilise skills she gained studying Mechanical Engineering. We wish her all the best as she works towards her long term goal of working as a Mechanical Engineer.

Visit our webpage to find our more about Prace English classes and AMEP funding.